Letters to the Editor

Counterpunch: committee responds to assessor's critique | Letters

According to the county assessor, the voters pamphlet statement by the Committee Opposing Land Bank Initiative contains inaccuracies.

The 3,580 acre figure used by the Committee Opposing Land Bank Initiative for the voter pamphlet statement was taken from page 10 of the Land Bank's 2010 annual report, as fee simple acquisitions. So whose figures are wrong, the assessor's or the Land Bank's annual report?

The assessor also notes the differences in how Land Bank taxes are calculated compared to school district budgets, which come from different tax levies. Yes, we understand Land Bank funding uses a different formula than other tax-based services (school budgets, law enforcement). The question is: should it?

Just because that's the way it is doesn't equate with if it should be that way. Why should Land Bank funding get 12-year authorization when the schools levy is only for four years and the sheriffs budget decided annually? Is funding for the Land Bank more important than education or police services?

That's how voters should be looking at this.

There's a common denominator between the different formulas. That common denominator is the taxpayers wallet. Their wallet doesn't make a distinction between formulas. It doesn't make any difference what formula got used. All we know is our wallet is getting hit from all sides. The result is the same. Tax payers are already bearing too much. Such is the state of the union and the state of taxpayers' wallets.

In this economic climate, when virtually every budget around is taking hits, why should the Land Bank get funding assurance for the next 14 years?

Letters on this issue include one from the Renew Our land Bank Co-Chairs. They wrote: "Without renewal the Land Bank will expire in 2014." Following that letter is one by the director of the Land Bank. He wrote: "I just thought I'd point out that if the Land Bank is not renewed it won't go out of existence." The Land Bank director is correct.

If the Land Bank initiative didn't pass it wouldn't be the end of the Land Bank. By in large, it wouldn't even effect their existing stewardship expenses. The real effect is the Land Bank would have to cut back on their projected future spending. We believe that's exactly what they should be doing instead of asking for more. Just like other government services are having to cut back.

It appears the Land Bank doesn't wish to be accountable. Voters should demand more.

Ron Whalen

San Juan Island



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